MUSAC Art Forum in León
The new museum for modern art in León is a symbol of the cultural regeneration of Castile. Consisting of a concrete structure filled with whitish translucent glazing, this seemingly introverted building scarcely reveals its function, yet forms a striking contrast to the surrounding housing. The coloration of the facade was based on a computer analysis of the glass mosaics in León cathedral. In addition to opaque, colour-printed glazing, coloured film was used with transparent laminated glass. The complex is accentuated by seven towers that rise to twice the height of the basic structure and lend the museum an urban quality. Nevertheless, the building provides a flexible environment in the service of the works of art. Although the horizontal facade divisions suggest a three-floor structure, internally the museum is for the most part one storey high. The matrix of different sized hall spaces, with light courts between the galleries, allows a number of routes through the building. Each exhibition space opens on to the adjoining rooms and to the courtyards, creating visual links along the spatial axes and on the diagonal. In addition, windows concealed behind the outer glass skin afford views of the city. The spatial effect is dominated by the great height of the rooms with their zigzagging, wave-like layouts, by the exposed boarded-concrete surfaces and by the rhythm of the 500 downstand beams, which create a formal tension between systematic repetition and expressiveness.